Constitutionality of the Illinois Draft Card Burning Act

Pre-emption, a doctrine based on Article VI of the United States Constitution (the “Supremacy Clause”), considers “…the validity of state laws in the light of… Federal laws touching on the same subject.” Where state and federal laws embrace the same subject matter the question is whether Congress intended to preclude state legislative participation in the area or to allow concurrent power. If Congress did intend to preclude state legislation on the subject, the state law must be struck down as a violation of Article VI. Where there is no directly expressed Congressional intent the Court must discover that intent, and as Justice Black noted in Hines v. Davidowitz: “There is not – and from the nature of the problem there cannot be – any rigid formula or rule which can be used as a universal pattern to determine the meaning and purpose of every Act of Congress.”